One of the most important ROIs that marketers track is organic traffic numbers. Apart from sales and conversion rates, this number ultimately defines how well you are connecting with your target audience.
This number will often fluctuate quite a bit throughout the year. For instance, during the busy season (like the holidays), organic traffic numbers may spike. Some companies also experience slower periods where their products or services are not needed as much.
A general rule of thumb is to keep your organic traffic numbers growing by at least 10% year over year.
If your growth rate has been declining or remaining stagnant, it is a sign to act.
Thankfully, growing organic traffic is something that marketers can do – and do quickly – if they use the right strategies.
Here are four things you can do to help grow online traffic and reach wider audiences if your numbers have dropped recently.
1. Ramp up your external link content
If the organic traffic numbers on your website have been dwindling or your rankings have slipped, focus on building external links. Publishing more content on your website may not always help you to drive traffic – but building links can.
Inbound links and the linking domain authority make up nearly 28% of ranking factors for organic search results on Google. By building up your presence on other authoritative sites, you could boost your own site’s ranking while also driving traffic through those links.
To increase your external links, consider pitching content ideas to other related blogs in exchange for outbound links. Contact blogs that reach similar audiences like you and see if they are accepting guest posts. This can also be a great opportunity to give your company or marketing writer better credibility and establish thought leadership.
2. Hunt down new keyword opportunities
Keyword trends are changing all the time. The COVID-19 pandemic is a perfect example of how hundreds of new keyword opportunities can appear over a short period.
For instance, take a look at some of the phrases that exploded in growth from February to April of 2020:
Who would have thought that phrases like how to cut your hair, make bread, or find cute sweatpants would be in the top searches on Google?
While these searches may not be totally relevant to the keywords you tend to target, it is a good time to re-evaluate your keyword lists frequently. There could be ways to incorporate SEO-optimized content or even update your current copy with new keywords.
You can also take this as an opportunity to refine your current targeted keyword list and see if there are some lower-ranking phrases you can start to target. Narrow down your niche content by finding specific search phrases that are relevant, but not highly popular.
If you’re using a keyword research tool like Ahrefs or Ubersuggest, your best bet is usually to go for keywords with a Difficulty of less than 30, and a search volume of more than 100 hits/month.
Remember, these might not be at the top of the list in terms of search volume; however, if the competition is low, it could be worth pursuing.
3. Give new social trends a try
It should come as no shock that the use of social media is at an all-time high. According to recent research from We Are Social, the number of people actively using social media grew by 10% in 2020 – and is expected to continue to rise.
It’s no secret that social media is a major marketing tool. But, you must pay attention to how and why people are using it.
The same study concluded that the average person spends nearly 7 hours a day online. The majority of this time is split between chat apps and social networks – as well as watching videos, shopping, and playing games.
So, in addition to staying connected with friends and family, most people used social media for distraction. This means that it is not effective to create content solely to convert customers with obvious promotions.
Instead, focus on creating content that captures your audience’s attention and gets them familiar with your brand. Pay attention to the shift in platform usage as well. Video streaming has exploded in recent years, so you may want to expand into additional networks like TikTok or YouTube to engage.
For instance, the San Diego Zoo has been jumping on popular trends and engaging with followers. When the zoo was closed to visitors during COVID-19, this outlet allowed people to stay engaged through viral TikTok trend videos. It also kept the zoo at the forefront of people’s minds, which likely drove in donations and excitement for its re-opening.
When traffic numbers or conversions are starting to dwindle, it may be a good time to launch a YouTube channel or focus on more interactive content creation. It’s also a great time to consider testing a rebrand if you want to launch a new “aesthetic” for your social media presence!
4. Consider podcasts
Consider expanding your content library even further by trying content mediums like podcasts or live streams. Overall, podcast listenership has risen by 29% since 2019. Moreover, niche topics are favored among subscribers as the majority of people turn to podcasts for education or entertainment.
Once again, this is a great way to target niche keywords, audiences, and build awareness about the topics your business specializes in. It is highly recommended that you focus on current topics; 60% of podcast listeners use this content to stay up to date.
Now could be a good time to launch your own if you feel so inclined!
Consider reaching out to other podcasts and pitch them an idea for an interesting collaboration or a reason why you or someone on your team should be featured on their show. Podcasters are always looking for ideas for their next episode.
Not ready for podcasting or want to test the waters before diving in? Other options could be trying your hand at hosting or participating in webinars or social media live streams.
Marketers must be able to adapt and pounce on new opportunities to stay relevant. If your organic traffic numbers have been decreasing lately, it is a sign that your strategies need an update.
The best way to grow your organic traffic numbers is by understanding how to attract customers in the current climate. Now is the perfect time to expand and change – and these are just a few ways you can do it.
What are some other marketing strategies that you have used to grow this year?
Share in the comments!
Guest author: Jack Shepler is a Marketing and Search Engine Optimization expert. He founded Ayokay, award-winning marketing, and web design firm in Indianapolis, Indiana that has built brands and increased sales for businesses since 2011. He uses his decades of experience to educate through the Ayokay blog and through public speaking. You can follow him on LinkedIn.